Charity quilts Archives - Handi Quilter

And I Quilt Personality, Dorien Keusseyan

This week we hear from And I Quilt personality, Dorien Keusseyan. Dorien is a hockey player, a mom, and she quilts. Before COVID, Dorien led an active, busy life as an athlete and mother, but always found time for quilting.

A pandemic has a way of changing what everyday life looks like. But it didn’t change Dorian’s love of quilting and giving. She dug deep into her favorite endeavor to find a place of peace. And she found a way to comfort a friend along the way. Here’s her story:

 

My COVID escape

Quilting keeps me going, especially in these most recent times of uncertainty. My hours used to be filled with a part-time job and sports, both playing and watching. When COVID-19 hit, and hit hard, it turned so many people’s worlds around, including mine. These freed-up hours left me with less of an identity in a way, too, and with no real good news on the news, unrest started to overtake me. I needed an escape. My Handi Quilter Amara did just this for me.

Dorian Kuesseyan and her Amara

Making masks

It was during those first few months that I, like so many of us with the gift of sewing talent, turned to my machines for mask-making. Making masks for friends, family, and donation kept my mind busy and made me feel like I was making a difference. I did make a difference. We all made a difference, a very important difference. I am thankful for keeping my family safe and share that with others.

Quilting

Once I made a few hundred masks, I turned to my quilting, a more artistic outlet. I have always been a better person when busy, so that’s what I did, I kept busy with Ms. Amara. Since the COVID shut down I pieced and gave away 9 quilts, most of them queen sized! Imagine, my husband thought I’d never use all the fabric I had. I continue to sew and quilt several hours each day. I also quilted many benefit quilts for my guild. I try to do ten each month.

I managed to quilt for hire a bunch of tops for some folks near me too. Quilting and spreading love and happiness puts me in my happy place. Buying my Handi Quilter was perhaps one of the best and most fulfilling things I have ever done. Not only is my studio my favorite place in the house, it makes me feel complete. I am part of a community, the Handi Quilter community, and feel like we are all family.

Focus

Quilting demands attention to detail and focus, which clears my head. This escape is amazing. I love creating and showing off the finished product, social media is a great forum for this. Cruising social media groups is also a great place for collecting ideas for projects. Often when I am stumped for an idea for a place to start with a top, I turn to the internet.

Bringing the community together

One of those nine quilts that I made during the early part of COVID really brought my community together when we needed it most. The school nurse at Arlington High School, Sarah Lee Bolt, who is a friend and neighbor, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I happened to be at the gym, where I worked as a personal trainer, with another friend and neighbor who informed me of this. This client at the gym mentioned to me that the signup genie was all full, so I thought, there’s gotta be something I can do for her, as she has done so much for our community and my sons in particular. I’m betting you can guess what I did? Yup, made a quilt.

It was a community effort though! I ironed muslin onto freezer paper. Thankfully, I had it on hand since all the shops were closed. And started an email and texting effort to get other friends and neighbors of hers to write inspiration and healing messages on these squares with fabric markers. I planned to put them together into a quilt.

A parade!

After a few weeks and lots of coordination, I had 48 blocks! I can’t tell you how many people who got the bag with the blocks were in tears after reading the finished blocks. It still brings goose pimples to me just typing this. Once complete, we neighbors organized a car parade that actually made the local news!

This quilt was incredibly uplifting for her and got me thru that first month, when I wasn’t sure how long things were going to be like they are – this new normal. My new normal includes escaping with everything quilting!

Thanks, Dorien! I think so many of us quilters can relate to your story. Keep on quilting, it’s a life safer!

 

Quilting For a Special Little Boy

Jeresther Thorpe, And I Quilt personality, Principal, Mom, and Quilter, joins us again this week with her story of quilting for a special little boy. She shared a couple of weeks ago just what quilting means to her and what she gets from quilting. Sometimes we are called to do something hard, something big, something important. Quilters have what it takes! Here is Jeresther’s story:

Quilting For a Special Little Boy

As I shared, I find healing, peace, joy, celebration, and life in quilting, which is why most of my quilting (completed quilts) are done and gifted to others. This summer, I was honored to participate in a “Dream Come True” room makeover project for a special little boy.

Earlier in the school year, I nominated a student from my school for this special project. He had lost both of his parents to gun violence, most recently his mother this past October. This little guy, six years old, had now lost both of his parents. Of course, he was struggling with sleeping at night, and he spent many days and weeks following his mom’s death in my office, curled up in one of my blankets or quilts for a short nap, a safe place to rest.

A service project for teen leaders

In my nomination, I wrote, if we could give K.S. a room or space specifically designed to provide him with a place to rest, dream, and hope, it would be life-changing. He needed to feel warmth, love, and security again; then, he could rest and begin to dream again. Needless to say, he was selected, and the project theme was formed. The “Dream Come True” Room Makeover Edition of the Southeastern Regional Teen Conference Service Project of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Teen leaders from 5 States raised over $4000 for K.S.’s room make-over.

Due to the pandemic, there were many delays with product and material deliveries. But it didn’t stop a determined mom, principal, and designer fueled by a group of teens wanting to make this happen!

Quilt for a specail little boy

Making it special

As we were getting to know K.S. and gain a better understanding of his home life, the sadness and loss was woven in the very fabric of their lives, his little brother, his grandmother now caretaker, and his life and living space. Even though we had connected K.S. to a special program and summer camp designed to support his grief and healing, as well as family counseling, the family was struggling with moving forward and managing his mother’s personal items and things. So the designer and I were asked to find a healthy way to honor his mother’s memory within his room design.

The designer created a memory box to house and display small keepsakes. I was asked to make a memory quilt for K.S. His grandmother had gathered a few of his mom’s clothing items; her favorite pajama shirt, a work shirt, a t-shirt, and her favorite comfy dress.

As a mom, principal, and quilter, my heart was overwhelmed with the honor of this request and the need to make it as special as humanly possible.  And then I had a quilter’s panic attack.

An important quilt

Oh, my goodness did I!  Now, remember, I find life and healing in quilting, and it was time to bring those energies forward. But all I could do was pray. For a moment, I was so afraid that I could not do it.

This quilt was so special and the fabric of his mother’s memories. At age six, he doesn’t fully understand his grandmother’s request.  To have these special fabrics, a shirt, PJs, and a dress, made into a quilt, but one day he will. And I thought, “Can I do it justice?” I am a newbie in so many ways; this quilt deserves a world-famous, highly experienced quilter. I started looking for my rolodex. And then I saw his little face. All those weeks he spent curled up with a quilt or blanket in my office trying to find a few minutes of escape from his sadness and loss.

 

I remembered why I quilt, and I knew I had to make him this quilt. More importantly, I knew it would be perfectly wonderful. Because in the many nights to come, K.S. would be able to wrap himself in a quilt that would bring him warmth, sweet memories, and dreams. Each stitch, pieced and quilted, was a prayer for K.S. that all of his dreams will come true.

With hope for a better tomorrow.

Thank you Jeresther for summoning your quilter super powers and rising to the task of quilting for a special little boy. And thank you for sharing your story. I know it will inspire our readers.

Words We Need

The QuiltCon Charity Challenge is one of the Modern Quilt Guild‘s largest-scale charity projects. Guilds and individual member groups create quilts according to challenge guidelines and after they are displayed at QuiltCon they are donated to the group’s charity of choice. For the 2020 show, groups were challenged to create quilts using text with a palette of grayscale. The vast majority of the quilts incorporated words of encouragement, hope and inspiration. Words we need right now. So I will share these quilts with you in the hopes they will lift you up, bring a smile, and remind you that our world is full of sunshine (even though these quilts are gray).

The Charity Quilts from QuiltCon 2020

Be The Good

Words Quilts from QuiltCon

Be The Good
by Angelina Payton, Paula Pike, Jenny Armour, Carolina Oneto Tapia, Michelle Ramsay, Velda Roy

This quilt was made by an international group from the US, Australia, Brazil and Canada. They were hoping to spark the “good” in everyone. Quilters sure are a powerful community, who will find each other from the far corners of the earth to encourage and help others.

 

Hugs All Around

words quilts QuiltCon

Hugs All Around
by the Brisbane Modern Quilt Guild

Hugs All Around was made to support a charity that helps people who have experienced domestic violence.  More than 30 members made blocks with the word “hug” in many languages. The circle (symbol for hug) is also symbolic of how a quilt is like a warm hug.

 

#Hashtag

Words quilts QuiltCon

#Hashtag
by the Orange County Modern Quilt Guild

Hashtags have become an integral part of social media to identify messages on a specific topic. Hashtags cover the background of this quilt! We have so much information coming at us these days, I think the message of the words is super important. We have to find balance, a place where we can be peaceful and yet stay informed.

 

Embrace the Detours

Words quilts QuiltCon

Embrace the Detours
by the Washington DC Modern Quilt Guild

We have many detours in our lives right now and the best way to handle them is to follow Kevin Charbonneau’s advice. Thirty members of the Washington DC Modern Quilt Guild created the arrows and letters.

It can be scary but what if  we do embrace the detours…..

 

What if You Fly?

words quilts QuiltCon

What If You Fly?
by the West End Modern Quilt Guild

The quote “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” is from a poem by a young Australian woman, Erin Hansen, known as the Poetic Underground. Pretty powerful words to keep us going in spite of our insecurities.

If we do keep going, maybe we will….

 

Soar

Soar
by the Lincoln Modern Quilt Guild

I love the luminescence of the background! It shows our world really is full of sunshine. Share your words on your quilts. They might just be the words we need.

Keep smiling, keep quilting!

By Mary Beth Krapil, Handi Quilter National Educator

 

 

 

 

 

Go to Top